Setting the Record Straight: PAAIA Responds to Unfounded Attacks


Setting the Record Straight: PAAIA Responds to Unfounded Attacks

On September 4, 2012, Mr. Ali Moayedian posted an editorial on titled “Is PAAIA advocating for an attack on Iran?” Among other things, in it Mr. Moayedian charges that "PAAIA, an Iranian-American group, has all but accepted, and seems is advocating, a military attack on Iran as the natural next step after sanctions." The editorial bases its assertions on the 2012 Iran sanctions report that was recently released by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA). We categorically and unequivocally reject Mr. Moayedian's allegation that PAAIA seeks military action against Iran. This assertion is unfounded, sensationalist, and in no way supported by the content of the report.  

In the first part of his editorial, Mr. Moayedian attacks PAAIA for implying that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, stating that no proof of this has been forthcoming, "...neither by IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) nor by the U.S. government." This is a serious mischaracterization of what PAAIA actually said. Throughout its report, PAAIA merely reported on the fact that the U.S., U.N. Security Council, the European Union, and other allies as well as many analysts and experts have expressed concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. As a result, the U.S. and the international community have imposed sanctions against Iran. "With the escalating tensions over Iran's capabilities to potentially produce a nuclear weapon, additional unilateral and multilateral sanctions have recently been levied against Iran."  

It is a fact that IAEA has long expressed concern about Iran's nuclear program. In its report released in November 2011, the agency states that Iran "has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device," and that it "has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program."  

Mr. Moayedian goes on to criticize PAAIA on the grounds that most of the U.S. sanctions against Iran are unilateral and that the word “unilateral” only appears twice in the report. The report is clearly focused on U.S. sanctions and provides information that much of the sanctions legislation passed by Congress is focused on deterring foreign companies and nations from investing in Iran or doing business with Iranian entities. In addition, the report provides a comprehensive side by side comparison between U.S., U.N., and EU sanctions, which Mr. Moayedian conveniently left out of his editorial.  

Mr. Moayedian is correct to point out that Iran’s subsidy cuts had been a work in progress. However, there is ample evidence to suggest that the restrictions on trade related to Iran’s oil and gas industries helped the Iranian government consolidate enough support to pass the cuts. In fact, the report goes on to cite scholarly reports on how targeted autocratic regimes often resort to a strategy of aggressively lowering the supply of public services in their response to sanctions 

Where actual evidence does not exist to support Mr. Moayedian's assertions regarding the nature of the report, Mr. Moayedian resorts to dissecting the vocabulary used in the report to skew the actual intent of the report and the information it attempts to convey. The use of the word "reluctant" versus "unavailable" or whether the words "Iranian people" were left out of a summary paragraph are not evidence of whether the report is biased or whether it propagates war. This type of commentary is simply rhetoric to confuse the reader, ignite their feelings on an issue that is important to us all but extremely complex, and an attempt to lend credence to the arguments provided by Mr. Moayedian.  

Finally, Mr. Moayedian takes two separate passages from pages 25 and 28 out of the report and bundles them together to insinuate that PAAIA is calling for military action. In fact, PAAIA was merely reporting the opinions of some experts and the well-known fact that it is unclear whether sanctions coupled with diplomacy would be sufficient to end the current impasse with Iran. To conclude or suggest that this is a call for military action is simply illogical.  

While PAAIA recognizes that no report covering such complex issues can be perfect and cover every scholarly perspective and commentary, we believe that the report is objective and provides perspectives from different organizations in support and in opposition to certain sanctions and commentary from a variety of analysts as well as diplomats and scholars. In addition to Patrick Clawson, Michael Eisenstadt, and Kenneth Katzman who were named in Mr. Moayedian’s editorial, experts cited or referenced also include Anthony Cordesman, Gary Hufbauer, Aaron David Miller, Alireza Nader, and Manuel Oeschlin to name a few. 

PAAIA respects Mr. Moayedian’s staunch opposition to sanctions. However, the intent of the report was not to advocate for or against sanctions but rather to provide an informational and historical prospectus on U.S. sanctions against Iran as well as information driving current U.S. policy on Iran.  

Mr. Moayedian’s editorial suggests that as long as PAAIA does not take a similar position as he does on this subject matter, it automatically must be in favor of advocating for an attack on Iran. This is an unfortunate but common tactic used by many individuals and organizations with political agendas: “you are either with us or against us.” You either write it or say it in the way that we consider appropriate or we will label you anti-Iranian, war-proponents, and neo-cons.  

As Mr. Moayedian is fully aware, in March of 2012 PAAIA conducted a survey of Iranian Americans regarding possible military action against Iran. The results of the survey show that almost two-thirds (63%) of Iranian Americans oppose military action against Iran. PAAIA has utilized the survey results to conduct briefings with the U.S. State Department, Congressional members and staffers, as well as other administration officials on the importance of this issue amongst our community to ensure that policymakers clearly understand the views of Iranian Americans regarding military action against Iran, and to make sure they take those views into consideration when making any type of decision about an attack on Iran. Mr. Moayedian conveniently ignores the efforts that PAAIA has made to educate those within the policy and political fields about this matter. He also conveniently ignores the fact that the only scientific information available about how the Iranian American community feels about military action is derived from PAAIA's surveys.  

While sensationalism may, at times, increase readership, it does nothing to bring the Iranian American community together on such a serious subject. At no point in the sanctions report does PAAIA, explicitly or implicitly, advocate military action against Iran. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate, does a disservice to the community, and undermines the credibility of the work that Mr. Moayedian has done to date as chief editor of It is the role of an editor to ensure that his or her understanding of an issue is balanced and accurate. Not doing so and selectively using parts of a report to confuse readers is irresponsible, harmful, and divisive.  


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by aghareza1234 on

I'm as much a PAAIA employee as you are...

Talking about grains of salt, you used to be employed by them, right? That's why you're so pissed at them all the time. I think that puts your comments into perspective.

I, on the other hand, am a simple engineering student with obviously too much time on my hand and tired of us hitting against each other all the time.


One more thing

by Kabriat on

Whoever is writing PAAIA's responses, this message is to you.  What is disconcerting about your organization is how defensive is has become.  A lot of people seem critical about your report and for good reason.  Sometimes its better to admit you made mistakes instead of launching into personal attacks.  Whatever your intentions were, your report was badly written.  Should we be suprised?  No.  Your organization itself has stated that it is not involved in foreign policy issues vis-a-vis Iran, so it shouldn't be suprising that when you attempt to address foreign policy that you do it badly and fail to recognize the important nuances in these issues.


But I will also say this.  Your organization is deceptive.  We know that some of your leaders at a recent meeting at the White House and in private sessions with Congressmen have asked for regime change.  For an organization that claims to not be involved in foreign policy and says it intends to be objective that is wrong.  Either fire those individuals from your Board of Directors, or be honest and transparent to the community.


PAAIA's response

by Kabriat on


PAAIA's response here treats us as if we're stupid.  It doesn't actually
address Moayedian's response.  It dresses it up sensationalist and then
attacks him personally by suggesting he did it to increase readership
and then practically lectures him on how to be a good leader.  Shame on
you PAAIA.


In terms of the actual substance, the remarks made by PAAIA are badly
written, defensive anddo not address the core of  Moayedian's issues.
Sometimes they don't even make sense.  

For example, the suggestion that Iran is going after a weapons
capability is sprinkled throughout the report.  The report even says
"many experts still doubt that severe and sustained economic pressure
will be sufficient to persuade Iran to abandon its drive for nuclear weapons capability."  Read that sentence and think PAAIA, think.  

Even if you were intending to say something else (namely thatsome experts
believe that Iran may be aiming for a nuclear weapons capability and
that sanctions will be insufficient to stop them) thats not the way that
sentence was written.  It talks about Iran's drive for nuclear weapons
capability as a factual certainty, not the opinion of some individuals.
In fact, your report doesn't even do what any objective report would do
- it doesn't note that other experts and intelligence reports DON'T
think Iran is seeking a weapons capability or that sanctions/diplomacy
may be sufficient.  It only highlights one analysis (out of a range of
possibile conclusions) which in turn supports proponents of sanctions
and war.  PAAIA's response to this criticism is confusing.  It writes
that the report is about international concerns over Iran's "nuclear
program" and not "nuclear weapons" but then then PAAIA says it is a fact
that the IAEA has expressed "serious concerns regarding possible
military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program." Indeed, based on how
PAAIA is now defensively pointing out evidence that Iran may have a
nuclear weapons program, one can only conclude that Moayedian's
criticism was absolutely and 100% correct.


And to all of you who preach unity and community.  No offense, but when
an organization publishes a report like this that can be used to kill
innocent Iranians or subject them to additional suffering, I'm not going
to unite with you.  We should all stand up against such attempts or in
the least note that we do not support the organization which claims to
represent the Iranian-American community.



by Kabriat on

You work for PAAIA, it's not suprising why your comments are always in support of them and this god-aweful report.  So I think its fair to say that people should view your comments with a grain of salt. 


Slogans are useless - a group w/ bad acts & slogans is useless

by MaryamJoon on

"Build unity and collaboration" means nothing when the group is rotten.  Mrs. Rajavi says the same things.   

PAAIA issued a report about Iran's nuclear program under the pretext of analyzing the effect of sanctions on ordinary Iranians; groups operating under false pretenses don't deserve the time of day.  It reaffirms that groups like PAAIA are willing to dupe iranians, who may get in trouble for PAAIA's reckless acts.  You don't play with people's security if you have any professional integrity.  

PAAIA: Persian Atomic Association of Iranian-Americans? Adios PAAIA.  


Totally agree....

by aghareza1234 on

@Hafezforbeginners - Damet garm...moreedeteem! You are very correct. Iranians attacking each other is destructive. Unfortunately some people in our community are unable to understand that and spend time and energy to destroy rather than build unity and collaboration.  Not much you can do but feel sad for them and their existence....when you spend so much time vehemently attacking others, that says more about you than the people you attack. It must mean that something is missing from your life.

@MaryamJoon - I think a mirror would be very helpful for you right now....look into it and see what is missing. Try to fill it with something positive. I promise you will feel much better about yourself and won't spend so much time trying to cut people down. Best of luck to you.



"Iranians attacking each other is destructive, it's primitive...

by MaryamJoon on

First prove that people on this site are Iranians. 

Second prove that Iranian exiles all have the interests of Iran at heart and not some other master they serve, whether it's Israel, a foreign think tank, the Universal House of Justice, or the Mujahedeen.  

Third,  stop shilling for PAAIA and demand they answer what's at this link - the've been stunned into silence: If they can't defend against one person's criticisms, how are they going to be able to defend Iranians? 

PAAIA: Persian Atomic Association of Iranian-Americans? Adios PAAIA. 

Hafez for Beginners

"with us or against us"

by Hafez for Beginners on

Iranians have a hard time living in the grey zone. The second you lift your voice - everyone is scrambling to figure out what your "agenda" is - you have to either be Black or White. Too jibeh in or Too jibeh oon. (in this or in that group's pocket.) It is Exhausting.

I haven't read either the report, or the attacks on it - but one thing's for sure, Iranians attacking each other consumes 98% of the community's time. It's destructive, it's primitive, and it's ridiculous.

OBAMA and HILARY: Obama and Hilary ripped into each other for months during the 2008 primaries - often brutally. But when Obama became President, he made Hilary the US Secretary of State. Can you imagine for a second an Iranian doing that?



Uhhhhh ..... No

by MaryamJoon on

You didn't convince me:

PAAIA: Persian Atomic Association of Iranian-Americans? Adios PAAIA.

And where were you in condeming or raising awareness about the issues I noted here:

Presentation is different from reality - tribute to MeyBokhor_Manbarbesuzan